No trip to Providence
Rhode Island would be complete if some time on Benefit Street doesn't enter
the picture. Known as the "Mile of History," Benefit Street stretches just over
a mile in length and can be found on the historic East Side. To the near west
of Benefit Street, the downtown area begins. Head east, and it's just a few
blocks to the campus of Brown University. What lies along the 1.2 mile stretch
that is Benefit Street are a conglomeration of old homes and grand buildings
that basically vie for position. These homes and buildings are excellent Colonial
and Victorian era artifacts, and they contribute to the outdoor museum appeal
that Benefit Street boasts. Both guided and self-guided Benefit Street Providence
tours can be enjoyed, and you might leave the high heels in your hotel room,
as the cobblestone sidewalks aren't exactly heel-friendly.
Enjoying Benefit Street Providence tours is definitely among the most popular things to do when visiting the capital of Rhode Island, as there are plenty of wonderful attractions along the avenue that make for some satisfying sightseeing. If you are planning on enjoying self-guided tours of Benefit Street, you can stop by the Providence Preservation Society to pick up various maps and pamphlets that will help you identify the main attractions. You can find the Providence Preservation Society at 21 Benefit Street. As for those who prefer guided Benefit Street Rhode Island tours, they are offered by the Rhode Island Historical Society from mid-June to mid-October. These tours last around 90 minutes and are well worth the price. Should you decide to enjoy one of the guided tours, you'll depart from the John Brown House Museum, which is one of the top Benefit Street attractions.
The trading of rum, molasses, and even slaves helped to contribute to the wealth that many Providence residents enjoyed in the Colonial and Victorian eras. The wealthier residents erected rather opulent homes in the city's historic East Side area, and Benefit Street is a fine place to view some of these structures. The John Brown House Museum is one of the Benefit Street Providence homes that was built with money that was partly made from the slave trade. It dates back to 1786 and is a fine example of the Georgian style of architecture. John Brown, who built the home, was not only a slave trader, but also a successful player in the China trade. Much of the fortune that Brown amassed went to Brown University, hence its name. Closed in January and February, the John Brown House is open to visitors throughout the rest of the year and tours can be booked if you're interested. Other Benefit Street attractions include the Nightingale-Brown House and the former home of Sarah Whitman.
The Nightingale-Brown House, which dates back to 1792, is one of the largest eighteenth-century wood frame houses in North America. It's an impressive 19,000 square feet in size. The Sarah Whitman House is of particular interest, as it was Whitman who Edgar Allen Poe courted during his time in the city. In addition to these homes, you might also pay special attention to the Old State House and the Providence Athenaeum, which are definitely among the top Benefit Street attractions. The Old State House, much like the John Brown House, is a Benefit Street Rhode Island treasure that is Georgian in style, and it served as the colony and state legislature meeting place for almost 150 years. As for the Providence Athenaeum, it is the fourth oldest library in the country, and you're welcome to step inside it for a look if you want to. Rare books, a card catalogue that dates back to the 1800s, and pieced of art by local artists are among the attractions found within the Atheneaum. You might be interested to know that back in the 1840s, Poe is believed to have done the bulk of his flirting with Sarah Whitman in the Athenaeum.
The attractions listed thus far are just some of the things that you'll see while enjoying the Benefit Street Providence experience. Just across the street from the famed Athenaeum, for example, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum can be found. This museum is one of the better museums in Rhode Island for art enthusiasts. Various restaurants can be found on either end of Benefit Street Rhode Island, so if you get hungry after all the walking, you can head to one of them to grab a bite to eat. Benefit Street Providence tours are recommended even if you're short on time in the state's capital city, as they offer a lot of insight into the state's history and culture. There are few places in the country that can match the historical appeal of Benefit Street Rhode Island, which is why it continues to be one of the state's top overall attractions.